Some Churchill Predictions

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    I was looking at a collection of Winston Churchill’s speeches and the following paragraph (from a speech given on November 12, 1939) caught my eye as being one of his less successful blends of assessments and prediction about the course of the war:

    “A long succession of important events has moved in our favour since the beginning of the war.  Italy, which we had feared would be drawn from her historic partnership with Britain and France in the Mediterranean – a partnership which will become increasingly fruitful – has adopted a wise policy of peace.  No quarrel has developed between us and Japan.  […]  The Russian Soviet Government, embodied in the formidable figure of Stalin, has barred off once and for ever all Nazi dreams of an advance in the east.  […]  Nazi Germany is barred off from the east, and has to conquer the British Empire and the French Republic or perish in the attempt.”

    Other than the part about having to conquer Britain, this paragraph ended up being invalidated piece by piece by the events of June 1940, June 1941 and December 1941.  Oddly enough for someone who loved to make bold and confident assertions about future events, later on in the same speech Churchill cautiously states that he “shall not attempt to prophesy” whether Hitler would eventually invade Holland and Belgium – which Hitler did in fact do just a few months later.

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